It’s spring and baby chicks are everywhere. You just have to visit your local farm or hardware store, and you’ll see those little cuties in the bins, peeping and pecking and jumping and being adorably tempting.
But there’s something important to keep in mind about those cute baby chickens. A report was released last year from the CDC stating that salmonella cases from chicken kissing and snuggling, as well as from chickens living in our homes, is on the rise.
It’s a reality that people love chickens, and I know why. I love our girls. They’re funny, ornery, sweet, full of personality, and they give us delicious eggs. I mean, what’s not to love? I guess, however, it turns out that I may love our girls a little too much.
According to the Washington Post, the CDC says there was a rise in the number of poultry-associated salmonella outbreaks between 2005 and 2014, and this rise corresponds with the rise in the number of people who are keeping chickens. Yes, chickens are really popular, and it’s easy to see why. However, it seems we love our chickens a little too much.
According to the report, about 6 in 10 salmonella patients said they had been exposed to baby poultry, and of that number, 49 percent reported having been snuggling the baby birds, and 13 percent reported kissing the baby birds.
When I first read this study, I thought to myself, well, I’ve done a lot of snuggling with those baby birds, I guess. I’m sure giving hugs and holding babies kind of counts as snuggling. But, I don’t kiss our girls.
But then I remembered maybe giving a baby chick or two a kiss on the back of the head, but that doesn’t seem too bad, right?
Well, when I fessed up to my husband that I had given a few of the baby chicks a little kiss on the back of the head, he wisely pointed out that the babies step all over each other when they are running around, so there’s a chance there’s chicken poop germs even on the back of a baby chick’s head.
So there you go. I guess I’m going to have to quit kissing the baby chickens.
But, I still love our girls, and I’ll never stop that. I’ll definitely cut out the kissing on the back of the head, but I might still have to give one of our girls a hug every now and then.
I’ll just wash up really, really well.
And the good news I gather from this CDC report is that Americans are not only keeping backyard chickens more and more, we really love our chickens.
Every effort we make against factory farming is a good thing in my book. Happy eggs from happy chickens is a goal we should be aiming for. If you can’t keep chickens, there’s a good chance you know someone who does. Buy your eggs there. I’m glad we’re moving in this direction.
I guess we just need to stop kissing those baby birds.